Creatine is a form of sports nutrition that is ground white powder. Creatine is produced by a chemical reaction from two substances such as sarcosine and cyanamide. The manufacturing process includes 4 stages: chemical reaction, cleaning, drying and grinding. In our body, creatine is synthesized from three amino acids, one of which is essential: glycine, arginine and methionine. In addition, meat and fish are dietary sources of creatine.
The first time after the discovery of creatine, it was made from these products. But since meat and fish are quite expensive products, creatine produced from them had a high price. Because of that, such production was abandoned. Today, creatine is only produced through a chemical reaction. Due to this, creatine has a low cost, and its structure is not different from the creatine that our body synthesizes on its own.
Varieties of creatine
By far the most popular is creatine monohydrate. But there are many other forms of creatine. For example: creatine hydrochloride, creatine citrate, creatine phosphate, creatine malate, creatine tartrate, creatine titrate, etc. All these are analogs of ordinary creatine monohydrate, but citric acid or malic acid, etc. are added to the molecule of such creatine.
All of these types of creatine forms do not have a scientific basis that would prove that this form of creatine is better than creatine monohydrate. But their price is higher than the price of creatine monohydrate. All studies that have been conducted on creatine have been carried out specifically on creatine monohydrate. Therefore, there is no point in using these forms of creatine and overpaying for them.
The key benefits of creatine
1) Creatine is involved in energy metabolism in muscles and nerve cells. Due to this, the key benefit of creatine, from which all subsequent ones follow, is an increase in strength endurance and performance.
Creatine increases the amount of creatine phosphate in cells, which is used to restore ATP, molecules that serve as the source of energy in the body. In addition, due to an increase in the reserves of creatine phosphate in cells, the duration of the creatine phosphokinase reaction, which starts immediately after depletion of ATP, increases to restore these molecules. Also, creatine helps to acidify less during the glycolytic pathway of restoring cell energy, that is, creatine helps to reduce the release of lactic acid.
2) Creatine helps to increase muscle mass. In fact, creatine is only indirectly involved in increasing muscle mass. This is due to the fact that creatine increases strength endurance and performance. As a result, you start training longer and with more weight, which means that the hypertrophy of muscle fibers increases, that leads to an increase in muscle mass.
The side effects of creatine
The most important and proven side effect of creatine is that it breaks the water-salt balance. That is, more fluid is held in the body. It is the effect of creatine that makes its use pointless during losing weight. Because of this effect, you need to drink a lot while taking creatine. Many believe that this effect is even positive. More water is retained, the muscles have become larger, which means that the muscle mass has increased. This is not true. This muscle mass is essentially water, this is edema. And this can lead to an increase in blood pressure. To avoid this, the main thing is to drink more fluids on the creatine cycle, as well as to refrain from excess salts and mineral waters in your diet.
It has also been proven that excess doses of creatine, more than 20 grams per day, can negatively affect the liver and kidneys. Therefore, in order to avoid this, it is not recommended consuming more than 20 grams of creatine per day.
How to consume creatine for muscle growth
At the moment, there are 2 main schemes for taking creatine:
1) Taking creatine with a loading phase. It means taking creatine in the first 7 days, 20 grams per day, divided into 4 doses throughout the day. And then maintaining creatine levels for 21 days by taking 2-3 grams of creatine per day.
2) Taking creatine without a loading phase. It means taking creatine for 28 days in an amount of 5-6 grams.
Taking creatine without a loading phase is safer for your kidneys. Therefore, it is best to use it.
In addition, creatine is best taken with sugary water or juice. Due to the fact that when taking sweets, more insulin is produced for transporting glucose through the body. This insulin will help transport creatine to your cells faster. Another helpful tip is to split your 5-gram portion of creatine into multiple doses. This will not cause an excess of creatine in the blood, and it is more likely to be absorbed by the body. For this use, creatine capsules are best suited.
After a month of taking creatine, it is better to have a rest for the month. After the rest, the creatine cycle can be repeated.
How to choose creatine
The most important criterion when choosing creatine is the size of the fraction, that is, the size of the particle of the powder. Creatine can have large fractions similar to sugar. Or small fractions that look like powdered sugar. It is best to choose creatine with small fractions. The smaller the fraction of creatine, the faster it is absorbed by the body and enters the bloodstream.
But the price of creatine often depends on the size of the fraction, and the finer it is ground, the more expensive it is. Therefore, if you do not have enough funds, and you buy creatine, which has larger fractions, there is nothing wrong with that. I have just described the ideal conditions for choosing creatine.